Desktop Computing Applications Need a Major Renovation in 2013

In an article entitled Subscribing to Office, Now and Forever, David Pogue, of the New York Times, notes “It must be tough to be on the Microsoft Office team. Year after year, you’re given the same assignment: add new features to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. New features that people will pay for, but that won’t turn Microsoft’s cash cow into a bloated, sloshing mess.” (quoted from David Pogue’s article, published on March 6, 2013, a link to which has been provided, above).

With enterprise IT in 2013 welcoming Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud offers gaining in popularity as the cloud becomes a more reliable option for CIOs, the Microsoft Office team update assignment should not have been the “same”. Mr. Pogue’s assessment indicates at least a marketing communications mistake on Microsoft’s part, and, perhaps, worse.

The marketing communications mistake amounts to Microsoft’s unsuccessful attempt to correctly educate the public about the Office 365 subscription offer. A successful effort would have introduced the Office 365 subscription offer to the public as the best choice to provide business users with all of the features of the premier suite of desktop computing applications anywhere, regardless of whether the computing device is a desktop PC, tablet, phablet, or even just a smart phone.

But, instead, the message got lost in the pricing; the cost of buying an off the shelf copy of the office suite, versus renting it through Office 365. We don’t think the price of the product is the key point at all, and, certainly, not the main reason for adding an Office 365 subscription option.

The real point of the Office 365 option can be found in the “office mobile apps” included with the 2013 version of the Office suite, and the “select set” of smaller size, mobile devices capable of exploiting the rich set of features offered by the suite of tools. Microsoft Office’s marketing communications team should have held off on any formal announcement of the new version of the suite until these points could have been communicated, with absolute clarity, to the public.

This post is published as an example to early stage ISVs of why the role of marketing communications is critically important to a successful product marketing effort. It makes sense to learn from Microsoft’s mistake.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved


Microsoft Looks to Lock Down Enterprise Market with Surface

While we do not, generally, write on the topic of consumer IT products, services, and/or integrated solutions, we do strive to focus on the same for the enterprise computing market. But, in deference to our focus, we need to publish a post to this blog on the topic of Microsoft® Corporation’s Surface, which had its debut yesterday, June 18th 2012. We think that the Surface finally establishes Microsoft in a position among the front runners of the consumerized IT market place with an offer that will be worth lots of consideration on the part of enterprise IT CIOs as they grapple with how best to support employees who are opting for BYOD solutions.

We think that Microsoft can stem a good bit of the tide that has been turning towards the iPad as the preferred tabled device at least for enterprise IT. Of course our position is built on an important assumption that the Surface will be largely compatible with Microsoft’s Office Suite for Windows 8. Further, we are assuming that the Surface will work fine with Microsoft SharePoint. This latter assumption is particularly important. From September, 2011 to the present we have spent a considerable amount of time working with an IT content solution for SharePoint training. We have observed, first hand through hundreds of telephone conversations, the extensive penetration of larger enterprise IT businesses and comparably sized organizations in the public and not for profit sectors that Microsoft has achieved with SharePoint. In our opinion, it was essential that Microsoft come to the market with a product like the Surface that could magnetize these same businesses to look to Microsoft for their BYOD tablet solutions. Fortunately, we think they have succeeded.

If we move the focus a bit over to innovative tech businesses targeting enterprise IT, we think the Surface provides an excellent reason to maintain deep scrutiny on the Microsoft computing environment within these enterprise businesses. Innovators should be on the look out for niche opportunities to produce missing enhancements that will complement the environment, rather than opportunities to produce disruptive technologies. A bit of fear and trembling should be kept at the forefront. With the Surface Microsoft has demonstrated that it is not going to turn the enterprise IT markets over to Apple or Google anytime soon.

We welcome opportunities to collaborate to tech innovators looking to correctly plan for changes in the enterprise IT computing environment. Please telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved